Finders Keepers (Lost and Found #3), by Nicole Williams
Published September 16, 2013
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4.5 STARS
(From Goodreads) There’s tortured. And there’s Garth Black.
His life has been a constant carousel of tragedy and disappointment, including his love life. Of course, applying the term “love” to Garth’s conquests is a gross misuse of the word. Some people were made to give and accept love, and others weren’t. Garth Black redefines the “others” category. He’s made a vow that the day he meets a woman who could sucker him into falling in love will be the day he runs away.
Garth’s plan has one flaw. What happens when he’s already fallen hard for a girl before the warning signs and red flags go up? What happens when the love he’s avoided his entire life brings him to his knees? What happens when Garth Black lets the dirtiest four letter word he’s ever known into his dark, lonely life?
This cowboy’s about to find out he can control some things, and he can’t control others. Number one on the what he can’t control list?
If ever there was a character who just needed a hug, it's Garth Black. We had some insight into his tortured upbringing in the first two books of this series, but we always saw Garth through his best friend Jesse's eyes, so we never got the whole story. Since Finders Keepers is told entirely from Garth's POV, we finally get the whole story, and there are parts of it that I wish I didn't know. It broke my heart.
Garth and Josie have loved each other since they were five. But, they've never told the other how they felt. Garth thought he wasn't good enough for her, and Josie thought Garth didn't like her like that. With Jesse and Rowen living hundreds of miles away, when tragedy strikes Garth, Josie is there to help him pick up the pieces. And, once they have the opportunity to spend some time together, everything from their past comes out. But, is it too late?
Garth is as manly as they come. He's tall, dark and handsome. He can ride a bull, beat any man in a fight, and make a bottle of whiskey his bitch. And, he's only 21. But, this man has never been shown love. His mother took off when he was little and his dad is in the running for Worst Father EVER. Garth is the town trash. No one has ever shown him compassion or love or acceptance. I just can't even imagine that.
Garth's descriptions of his childhood and how his father treated him absolutely split my heart wide open. I had never wished a character was real more than I wished Garth was real. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and feed him a cookie.
Josie is one of the best kinds of female main characters. This chick is ballsy. She takes crap from no one, and when she starts spending more time around Garth, she gets a lot of crap from a lot of different sources. Josie is unfailingly loyal. She is convinced of Garth's goodness and light, and she doesn't allow anyone to dispute that - not even Garth himself. Josie can be very persuasive. I loved that about her.
Garth has a martyr complex the size of Montana. He decided a long time ago that he's not good enough for Josie, so despite loving her more than anyone else on the planet, he purposely pushes her away (literally and figuratively) so that she can have a chance with a guy he deems worthy of her. After that hug I want to give him? I want to smack him around a bit. GAH, this man is frustrating. His view of the world has been tempered by his own personal experiences with his father. I get that. But, at the same time, Garth has proven again and again that he's not a stupid man. Just because his father didn't know how to show anyone real love doesn't mean the son is destined to the same fate. I wanted to shake that knowledge into him. Instead, I just ended up yelling at my Kindle a lot.
There was a short time in the book when it seemed Garth and Josie finally got it together. THAT Garth was absolute perfection. He didn't change so much that what made him and Josie so great together was lost. They still gave each other snark and always grappled for the upper hand. But, with Garth's acceptance of something good and pure and right in his life, he took on a softer edge that made him just the right combination of dark and light.
And then, of course, things had to go to crap because, well, you don't erase that Montana-sized martyr complex and years of conditioning to think you're not ever going to be good enough overnight. But, Garth's and Josie's road back to one another, and Jesse's and Rowan's hand in it, was the best part of this book.
There is a lot of Jesse and Rowan in Finders Keepers. Since they are both very good friends with Garth and Josie, they play key roles in their story. The steam quotient is pretty low in Finders Keepers, but the sexual tension between Garth and Josie was perfect.
Garth and Josie make such a perfect couple, and that made for a perfect story.